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Distracted walking nearly as dangerous as distracted driving

New Jersey readers might be interested in a new survey released by Liberty Mutual Insurance. The survey revealed that 60 percent of pedestrians admit to walking while talking on the phone, texting or emailing. In addition, 70 percent say that they know that doing those things while walking is dangerous.

These distractions might have played a role in the 4,280 fatal pedestrian accidents that occurred in 2010. This was a four percent increase from the year before. These statistics have been made available by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

There has been a lot of attention paid to the growing phenomenon of distracted driving while ignoring the fact that distracted walking can be just as dangerous. An observational study published by Injury Prevention reported that almost one in three pedestrians are crossing busy intersections while distracted by an electronic device. Texting was considered to be the most distracting behavior. Distracted walking took as much as 1.3 seconds longer to cross the road. People who were texting while crossing the road took nearly two seconds longer to cross than their non-texting counterparts.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, distracted walking caused injuries to an estimated 1,152 people in 2001. This number represented a 400 percent increase over the past seven years, coinciding with the rampant growth of smartphones.

In both the Pedestrian Safety Survey and Liberty Mutual Insurance survey results, people realize the dangers of driving and walking while distracted, but they are not changing their behavior. In cases where someone has been injured due to another person's distracted driving or walking, the injured person may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to review the circumstances surrounding the accident and suggest an appropriate course of action.

Source: Consumer Affairs, "Survey: Distracted walking problem getting worse", Mark Huffman, June 13, 2013

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